Hotels in and around the George suburb
Nestled between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), halfway along the world-famous Garden Route, is the historical town of George. This town is flanked by the breath-taking Outeniqua Mountains on the one side, and the temperate blue of the Indian Ocean on the other. The landscapes in George range from fertile farms to stunning seashore, from rivers to ‘fynbos’.
George has developed from being a timber-based community to being a viable commercial leader in the area. While it maintains its small town charm and hospitality, it is also equipped to handle large numbers of visitors and corporate travellers efficiently. In recent years, tourists from all over the world have begun to recognise the value of George as a destination as well as a base from which to explore the rest of the Garden Route and South Africa. As a result, the infrastructure, economy, entertainment and services have responded favourably, and George makes for the ideal holiday or business destination.
In the late 18th Century, there was a huge demand for timber and the products made from it. When the Dutch East India Company discovered the wealth of timber to be found in the vicinity of the Western Cape in 1776, they established an outpost here. Thus began the successful industry that still exists today. The area needed to be divided into smaller sub-sections as it grew in size and success. George was one of these sections. It was proclaimed in 1811 and was named after King George III. Those settlers arriving with the goal of making their riches here were mainly from Dutch descent. As technology advanced and transport became less of an inhibiting factor and more of an aid, the industry boomed. Since the early 19th Century, George has expanded exponentially as a result.
George is a bustling city. As such, its infrastructure, including roads and signage, are of good quality. Being situated along the Garden Route, George is easily accessible from other destinations around South Africa. It is within approximately 4 hours’ drive from both Cape Town to the west and Port Elizabeth to the east.
George has its own airport, which flies to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. These destinations are all equipped with international airports for those visitors wishing to fly to and from places outside of South Africa.
Taxis and hired cars are available in George. Visitors are advised not to make use of the minibus taxis, which are not always roadworthy and are notorious for their wreckless driving.
George is fortunate enough to be located on the Garden Route. As such, it enjoys many sights and sounds within only a few hours’ drive. These include destinations like Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, and Cape Town. However, there are fascinating and fun things to do, even within the town itself.
The Khulani Xhosa Village exposes the cultures and traditions of the local Xhosa people, including their food, dancing and iconic hospitality.
The Old Oak Tree has been a resident of George since 1811, and attracts many tourists every day. It is also known as the Slave Tree as it still has its iron chain, now embedded deep into the massive trunk.
The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is an institution in South Africa. This steam train follows its tracks along the gorgeous South African coastline, providing stunning vistas.
George and its immediate surrounds are ideal for adrenalin junkies. Go canyoning, angling or paragliding in George, sand-boarding in the Wilderness or caving in Oudtshoorn. Many of these activities can be enjoyed by the entire family, and make for an exciting day trip. For those seeking a bit of R&R, relax on one of the many beaches in the area or take a drive through the gorgeous mountain passes of the Outeniqua.
The Eastern Cape benefits from a particularly temperate climate. Summers, between December and March, are generally hot (averaging about 30 degrees at noon) and winters (June to August) are comfortably cool, at about 15 to 20 degrees in the day. George experiences less rain than other places along the Garden Route and most rainfall occurs during winter.
George is not a malaria-affected area. However, visitors are advised to consult with a doctor or travel clinic regarding the rest of their travel itinerary, as some of the northern areas of the country, as well as the surrounding countries, may be susceptible to malaria.
Always apply insect repellent and sunscreen when travelling anywhere in South Africa, regardless of the season. Because you are likely to be visiting the beaches in George and the along the Garden Route, be particularly aware of avoiding sun damage.
It is wise to bring your prescriptions for spectacles and medication with you to South Africa so that you can restock at a local pharmacy without having to consult with a doctor or hospital during your stay. Ensure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas in and around George are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.
George is not known for its high crime levels but, as with any destination, there are some areas that should be avoided, particularly at night. Consult your travel agent or your accommodation provider to ensure that you are aware of such areas. Do not walk around the city centre or tourist attractions carrying large amounts of cash or photographic / video equipment, and do not accept unwanted help from strangers. It is advisable that you stay in a group of people and do not stray off on your own. If you are travelling around by car, do not leave any valuables in the car. Should beggars approach you, you may choose to give them food or water. Avoid giving them money.